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A Married Woman

Year: 1964
Production Co: Anouchka Films
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Writer: Jean-Luc Godard

Just watch the black turtleneck and beret brigade disappear up their own arses describing this one. The commodification of beauty, the subverting of genre conventions using genre clichés, the revelations of the life beneath the veneer of a civilsed, sophisticated marriage.

If this is your introduction to Jean-Luc Godard, you could do a lot worse. You might not realise from a first viewing, but it's the story of 24 hours in the life of an attractive young Parisienne who's apparently happily married to a pilot but is conducting an affair with an actor on the side.

She spends the morning with her lover, the evening with her husband, there's a visit by a doctor, lots of running around in taxis and it's unmistakably French New Wave no matter how many genre conventions Godard subverts or cinema references he (apparently) includes. The film seems to be broken up into chapters, each new one marked by the pixieish voice of the hot young wife whispering a series of things that take her fancy, confuse her, frighten her or just looked all cool and avant garde in the script. The 'narrative' is also broken up by perfunctory glances of body parts in beds.

The French New Wave wasn't a storytelling style. In many cases it seems to have completely rejected the principle of telling a story altogether, instead favouring mood and tone. While A Married Woman isn't so confusing it makes you want to switch it off half way through, you have to love this style to really get into it, despite a surprisingly heady sense of eroticism given the era.

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